Definition of hunt in English:

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Pronunciation: /hʌnt/


1 [with object] Pursue and kill (a wild animal) for sport or food: in the autumn they hunted deer [no object]: they hunted and fished
More example sentences
  • Some northern species of squirrels are hunted for their soft, thick fur, and many of the larger species are hunted for food.
  • Smaller animals such as raccoons, squirrels and rabbits are also hunted for sport.
  • Tapirs have been extensively hunted for food and sport in some areas, although some Indian tribes refuse to kill tapirs for religious reasons.
chase, give chase to, pursue, stalk, course, hunt down, run down;
track, trail, follow, shadow, hound, dog
informal tail
1.1British Pursue (a wild animal, especially a fox or deer) on horseback using hounds: an old dog fox who had been hunted many times before [no object]: he used to hunt
More example sentences
  • Now that is not of course the whole story, because if deer were not hunted by hounds they would have to be shot in order to keep the population stable.
  • ‘It was like a pack of hounds hunting a fox; it was terrifying,’ he said.
  • For International readers, today in the UK hunting foxes with hounds became illegal.
1.2British Use (a hound or a horse) for hunting: he hunted his hounds every day
1.3(Of an animal) chase and kill (its prey): mice are hunted by weasels and foxes [no object]: lionesses hunt in groups
More example sentences
  • Death hunted the people as the tiger hunts the prey.
  • Smaller prey such as beavers, rabbits, and other small mammals are usually hunted by lone wolves, and they are a substantial part of their diet.
  • Few crustaceans hunt prey as a lion or a tiger does, but the mantis shrimp visually selects and stalks its victim.
2 [no object] Search determinedly for someone or something: he desperately hunted for a new job
More example sentences
  • Private adoption agencies' touts hunted for vulnerable, expectant families who already had one or two daughters.
  • Youngsters enjoyed a lucky dip, face-painting and a treasure hunt, while parents hunted for bargains and stocked up on delicious homebaked cakes.
  • Upon our return to America, I hunted for English collections of Bulgarian tales, eager to share them with friends.
search, look, look high and low, scour around;
seek, try to find;
cast about/around/round, rummage (about/around/round), root about/around, fish about/around, forage about/around, ferret (about/around)
British informal rootle about/around
2.1 [with object] (Of the police) search for (a criminal): the gang is being hunted by police [no object]: police are hunting for her attacker
More example sentences
  • An armed gang is being hunted by police after launching a series of attacks on town centre shops before speeding off in a getaway car.
  • Police hunting the thugs who pushed a wheelchair-bound youngster into the road admitted today their search had ‘hit a dead end’.
  • Police are now hunting the thugs behind the attacks.
2.2 [with object] (hunt someone down) Search for and capture someone: the killers will be hunted down
More example sentences
  • Nathan was probably on a frantic search to hunt me down and the quieter and in the dark I kept the better.
  • It was the one where he had been hunted down and captured.
  • Now is the time to do the right thing before you cross the line, because if you do hurt her, you will be hunted down like the coward you are, and you'll pay.
3 [no object] technical (Of a device or system) oscillate about a desired speed, position, or state: on weak stereo signals this circuit can hunt over mono and stereo in a very disconcerting manner
More example sentences
  • In one aborted poem I explored the feeling by examining the way a tuning circuit hunts up and down its scale to locate and fix on a signal.
3.1(Of an aircraft or rocket) oscillate about a mean flight path.
4 [no object] (hunt down/up) Bell-ringing (In change-ringing) move the place of a bell in a simple progression.


1An act of hunting wild animals or game: a bear-hunt
More example sentences
  • Guided big game hunts are also sometimes offered.
  • Such holidays occur after good hunts or when large game animals, such as an elephant or a wild pig, have been captured.
  • An annual hunt of roughly 20 animals per year was inaugurated in 1929 to supply meat to local missions and hospitals.
chase, pursuit, stalking, course, coursing;
tracking, trailing, shadowing
informal tailing
1.1An association of people who meet regularly to hunt, especially with hounds.
Example sentences
  • Hundreds of packs of fox hounds, hare hounds, deer hounds and other hunts and clubs are planning to meet on Saturday, the day after the ban comes into force.
  • If it is banned, have the opponents thought about the future of activities such as point-to-points, pony clubs and agricultural shows regularly sponsored by local hunts?
  • ‘In Scotland, it has made a big impact on the foxes,’ she said, of a piece of legislation that allows hunts to use hounds to flush out foxes, but not to kill them.
1.2An area where hunting takes place.
2A search: police launched a hunt for the killer
More example sentences
  • Detectives launched a hunt for the Leeds University student involving underwater search teams, mounted officers and sniffer dogs.
  • A senior detective who led the hunt for two armed robbers behind a series of terrifying raids across Bradford today told of the desperate race against time to catch them before someone was shot.
  • Eastern Division detectives yesterday intensified the hunt for a woman in her mid-20s, who is believed to be part of an extortion ring.
search, look, quest;
seeking, rummaging, foraging, ferreting (about/around)
3An oscillating motion about a desired speed, position, or state.


Old English huntian, of Germanic origin. Sense 4 dates from the late 17th century, and is probably based on the idea of the bells pursuing one another; it gave rise to the sense 'oscillate about a desired speed' (late 19th century).

Words that rhyme with hunt

affront, blunt, brunt, bunt, confront, front, Granth, grunt, mahant, runt, shunt, stunt, up-front

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hunt

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